After hitting the offensive side of the ball in the first two rounds, the New York Giants used their two pick sin the third round (66 and 69) to address the defense.
Lorenzo Carter gives James Bettcher an incredible athlete to mold
One way the Giants could attack the defense is to draft athletes and let James Bettcher do his thing. With the pick of Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter, that’s exactly what they did.
Carter is the best athlete in this edge group. He had the second-best Speed Score (weight adjusted 40-time) in this group. He was also the top SPARQ edge rusher in the 96th percentile.
The question surrounding Carter is why that athleticism didn’t translate to production on the field. Despite playing all four years at Georgia, Carter finished his career with 14 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. That’s an elite pass rush season, it’s an underwhelming four-year resume. The lack of production is a reason Carter has an underwhelming SACKSEER rating (55.9 percent) from Football Outsiders.
But the other side of that is Carter is an edge rusher who wasn’t really asked to rush the passer all the often. Pro Football Focus had him down as a pass rusher on just 65.3 percent of his passing snaps. Still even in coverage, Carter wasn’t all that productive with just one pass defensed in four years and no interceptions.
Watch him against Notre Dame and you’d believe he’s one of the best pass rushers in the country. He was all over the field in that game. He was able to beat the right tackle for a pressure below:
But Carter is probably served at his best as an outside linebacker schemed into his pass rush off the blitz.
Create a free lane to the quarterback and Carter is going to use his speed to make something happen.
While he looks like a star in those clips, there were plenty of other instances plagued with inconsistencies. James Bettcher clearly saw something he liked and if you’re going to trust Bettcher to develop an incredibly athletic defender, there’s a ton of upside here. But that teaching and development will have a huge impact on the player Carter will be in the NFL. If all the potential is unleashed the sky is the limit, but there’s definitely a possibility there’s little more than flashes that leave so much more to be desired.
B.J. Hill can be unleashed on the defensive line
North Carolina State defensive tackle B.J Hill was the selection three picks later. Hill is a player who will likely benefit in a move to defensive end in a 3-4 base. Hill was a good run defender, but at N.C. State he was often able to be blocked out of plays with double teams. If he’s between Damon Harrison at nose tackle and Olivier Vernon or Carter off the edge, there’s not going to be a lot of double teams going on.
Hill isn’t a great overall athlete — he was in the 42nd SPARQ percentile among interior defenders — but aligned on the edge, Hill could take advantage of two places where he is quite athletic, especially for his size with his 75th percentile 40-time and 91st percentile 3-cone drill.
He wasn’t a consistent disruptor in college, but he does have a few pass rush moves that can work well when he’s given a one-on-one opportunity.
His spin move might be the most effective of his pass rush tricks.
Hill was another inconsistent player who showed flashes, though those flashes started to come more often after the season during the Senior Bowl week. If the Giants can put him in more one-on-one situations, they could unleash Hill’s full potential. Again this will be a pick that hinges on how well Bettcher can put a player in a position to win. That’s not a bad bet to make.